Join us as we celebrate Poetry Day Ireland.
At the moment, there is a house in Stoneybatter that has Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope” is A Thing With Feathers, written on a piece of card in elegant handwriting, perched in the middle of a window so everyone who is passing through the street on their 2km walk can see it.
To see it suspended in midair is to experience a little shock - a reminder.
Poetry often comes to the fore in troubled times. We take books off the shelf and open a page hoping to find something. Poetry can often provide a glimmer or shimmer of that something and, so, we find ourselves returning to the same books, or even taking the time to write out a poem for the neighbours to see - to share the words you have found.
That our Poet President, took to the page to write words of comfort for our citizens during this crisis says something about the high regard poetry is held in Ireland. Giants like Séamus Heaney and the recently departed Eavan Boland have written epics that live in our collective consciousness, and poems become woven into the memories and meaning of life.
So when we embarked on this project, to find out about what the residents of Dublin are reading - to create a virtual bookshelf for the city, we weren’t surprised when readers mentioned poetry as some of the writing that has sustained and shaped them throughout their lives.
Readers talked about poems that changed their minds, poems in books worn from using over and over again. They mused how poetry inspired them to think deeply about things, or simply recalled how the rhythm of poems hooked them as a child.
Dublin poet, Stephen James Smith, summed it up well when talking about the work of another incredible Dublin poet, Paula Meehan saying, she "distills truth like no other”.
Good poetry can be a moment of crystal clarity rising up from the fog, cutting through and meeting you where you are, letting you know that someone else has felt this way too.
It can articulate things you haven’t yet learned to say, or remind you of things long forgotten, reminding you to hope.
So do you have a favourite poem?
For Poetry Day Ireland, we'd love to hear about some of your favourites, and you can head over to Twitter where we might even share a few of our own.
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